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Allow setting passive mode for BGP peers #1603

danderson opened this Issue Jan 15, 2018 · 1 comment


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danderson commented Jan 15, 2018

In google/metallb#114, I explored how to make my k8s BGP load-balancer interoperate gracefully with Calico clusters that peer with external BGP routers. I've documented my findings at and google/metallb#114 (comment)

Current Behavior

In my setup, I'm trying to peer Calico with another BGP speaker running on localhost. The peer does not listen on any ports, so Calico should just wait for an incoming session. Currently, there is no way to tell Calico to treat a peer passively, so Calico always eagerly tries to connect to which is itself. This causes repeated session establishment failures, and BIRD goes into error backoff. This makes it increasingly hard/impossible for the real peer to connect, there's a short window of just a few seconds when the error backoff resets, before the failed connection attempts force it back into backoff.

Expected Behavior

Calico should have a way to specify that a bgpPeer is passive, i.e. Calico should not try to connect to it, but instead just wait for a matching incoming connection.

BIRD supports this, with the passive keyword. It's just not plumbed into the bgpPeer object.


I am trying to make Calico and MetalLB integrate nicely with each other, by setting up a BGP topology like the one I documented for Romana integration. Basically, I want Calico to peer with the outside world, but also with another node agent that pushes routes into Calico for redistribution.

Setting up BGP sessions to/from localhost is notoriously tricky, but with the right set of options, it's possible. Lack of passive mode is one problem I encountered with Calico.

Your Environment

  • Calico version: 2.6.3
  • Orchestrator version (e.g. kubernetes, mesos, rkt): Kubernetes 1.9.1
  • Operating System and version: Debian testing
  • Link to your project (optional):

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caseydavenport commented Jan 16, 2018

Exposing the passive keyword on the BGPPeer resource should be straightforward and seems sensible enough to me.

We'd need to:

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